Coffs shark attack
September 09, 2005
A YOUNG Sydney surfer believes he was bitten by a shark in waist deep water at a beach at Coffs Harbour in northern NSW.
Blake Garnett, 15, of Maroubra, suffered severe lacerations to his left foot as he stood beside his surfboard in the surf at Park Beach at dusk on Wednesday, his father Michael Garnett said today.
The teenager, who was competing in the Balance Surf NSW State Junior Titles at Coffs Harbour, underwent hours of surgery at Coffs Harbour Hospital last night to repair his wounds.
His foot has a bite mark across the toes and at least three deep, wide slashing cuts on his ankle, Mr Garnett said from his son's hospital bedside.
"He had just caught a wave and felt something pulling him down and then it let go and nipped at him, all in a matter of seconds," Mr Garnett said.
"There was no sighting (of a shark) but I can't see what else it could have been."
Two of Blake's surfing mates carried him up the beach where they waited for an ambulance to take him to hospital.
He was not surfing in the contest at the time of the attack.
There were two separate shark sightings at Coffs Harbour beaches yesterday, one of them forcing a halt to the surfing competition, Mr Garnett said.
Competition organiser Mark Windon said events were stopped as a precaution for half an hour yesterday.
He said a number of dolphins and sharks were spotted chasing a large bait school in the area near where the competition was taking place.
The competition runs until Sunday and Mr Windon has expressed his concern for the competitors' safety to Coffs Harbour City Council.
Council lifeguard coordinator Greg Hackfath confirmed one shark sighting at the competition yesterday and said a lifesaver with a jet ski had been sent to watch over the surfers today.
"I don't doubt it (the shark attack), this is the time of year we get a lot of baitfish," Mr Windon said.
Locals quoted in the The Coffs Coast Advocate believe a baby bronze whaler or black tip shark bit Blake Garnett.